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From next year your ISP will send you an "alert" if you're spotted downloading copyrighted material

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The Pirate Bay

After much negotiation, spanning two years, ISPs and the entertainment industry have finally settled on a way to combat piracy.  

From 2015, if your ISP suspects that you're downloading things you shouldn't be, it will send you an "alert" letter. BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media are signed up to start first, but it's expected other ISPs will join in due course.

According to the BBC, once you've had four letters there will be no more. But your details won't be passed on to the rights holders, nor will your internet be throttled and you won't be disconnected. Presumably the idea here is to educate users, rather than punish them.

This plan is different to what currently happens where a rights holder can ask an ISP to reveal the details of people who are downloading. These people are often sent a letter offering them the chance to settle their claim, or take their chances in court. Presumably this measure will remain, and will be used for cases where rights holders feel they are losing a tangible amount of money to one user.  

The entertainment industry is, likely, not all that thrilled with this agreement. Originally it had been seeking a database of infringers who it could then opt to pursue for compensation or, via the courts, for damages. Furthermore, the entertainment industry is footing the bill for this, it will cover the £750,000 set-up costs, plus as much as £75,000 per year for each ISP to cover administration of the scheme.

For their money, rights holders will get information about how many people have been sharing their content. A cap has been placed on the total number of letters that can be sent too, currently standing at 2.5 million, although this can be adjusted as more ISPs join the scheme. The programme will run for three years initially, and will be assessed for effectiveness as time goes on.

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Via: BBC News

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